Authorities in Vientiane Issue Statement on Eviction of 36 Families

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Eviction of 36 families in Phonsinuan Village, Vientiane Capital
Eviction of 36 families in Phonsinuan Village, Vientiane Capital following a court order.

Authorities in Vientiane Capital have issued a statement regarding a land dispute in Sisattanak District involving the eviction of 36 families.

A live stream on social media by a resident of Phonsinuan Village in Vientiane’s Sisattanak District on Monday went viral after police were filmed evicting residents from their homes, drawing interest from the public.

Deputy Director-General of the Vientiane Capital Justice Department, Mr. Thongsan Keopaserth, issued a statement to the media yesterday, saying that the residents were evicted following a court order.

The court ruled in favor of the landowner after hearing a property dispute between Ms. Vilaythong (Plaintiff) and 36 households (Defendants), which dates back to 1989.

Mr. Thongsan Keopaserth said that the land had belonged to Vilaythong’s father since 1968, and she inherited the land following her father’s death in 1987.

Deputy Director-General of the Vientiane Capital Justice Department, Mr. Thongsan Keopaserth
Deputy Director-General of the Vientiane Capital Justice Department, Mr. Thongsan Keopaserth

However, in 1975, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had leased the land for residential use by its employees, who had previously struggled to pay rent due to financial constraints. Since 1987, the employees have been responsible for paying the rent.

Ms. Vilaythong later signed a petition in 1989 demanding that the land and residence be returned to her, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was to find a new location for its employees. However, little progress was made by the ministry.

As a result, the landowner filed a lawsuit to reclaim the property from the defendants, and the court ordered all 36 families to vacate the property in 2004.

The 36 families, however, were dissatisfied with the verdict and filed countersuits with the Court of Appeal, the People’s Supreme Court, the Parliament’s Justice Committee, the People’s Attorney General, and other relevant organizations.

However, in each case court ruled that the families must relocate and return the property to Ms. Vilaythong as the legal owner of the land.

The defendants requested compensation of THB 1 million for each household, while the plaintiff offered THB 200,000 per family in cash or 300 square meters of land in Nasam Village, Pak Ngum District, Vientiane Capital.

The defendants remained unsatisfied and refused all offers.

“Authorities sought mediation and issued a warning to the defendants, however, they refused to comply, so we discussed and came up with a strategy to address the disagreement so that the court’s judgment would be effective,” said Mr. Thongsan.

“Six households now have moved from the land, while the remaining families have claimed compensation of THB 200,000 per family, for which we have advised the plaintiff to take remedial action and work together to find a suitable solution,” Mr. Thongsan added.